Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38
How did you measure yourself today? A number on a scale, measuring tape, clothing size, how much time we spend at the gym? How often have we said, “I am doing well today” based on one of these numbers? How many times have we thought, “I’ve been bad today” using this same measurement system? Whether we do it consciously or not, the feeling of being “good” or “bad” based on these things can have devastating effects on our lives. When we look through our days evaluating the food we eat and the exercise we do (or don’t do) as a means to determine our mood or measure our “goodness”, we are, well–missing the mark.
We are not good or bad based on anything we do or do not do. We cannot measure ourselves based on these things. If we do, we will always be “weighed and found left wanting.” There will always be another number, size, length of time. If these are the goals for our days then they will turn into the goals for our lives. I specifically remember the slow fade from “just trying to get fit” after the birth of my youngest child to the complete and total obsession with the scale, the size of my clothes, the length of my workouts. It did not happen over night…it happened gradually. When I put my efforts into this pursuit, I had to take it away from other things. The efforts to clean my home, care for my family, and serve my church were all pushed aside in order to try to obtain “good measure” according to these numbers. And guess what? It never felt good. Oh sure, temporarily I felt like I was “good”, but soon I would feel “bad” again. A vicious cycle ensued…bad-good-bad–worse, worse, worse.
The Bible tells us that whatever we measure ourselves with is how we will be measured. It also tells us that God is not interested outward appearance: “God doesn’t look at what people see. People judge by what is on the outside, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16: 7 ERV)
So if we measure ourselves by our bodies, evaluate our goodness how much or how little we eat or exercise, then we are not using the same measuring standard as God. Do I really want to have my worth measured by what’s on the outside of me? To be honest, there were times when my heart was so messed up, the thought of having that “weighed” was so scary. I believed that I had nothing good inside, so I might as well just focus on the outside. Unfortunately, this only proved disasterous…inside and out. Focusing on my outer appearance left my heart and spirit to wither as well as wreaking havoc on my physical body. I would never measure and find it “good”.
So, I stopped…I stopped measuring myself by standards of this world. I no longer weigh myself or use my clothing size as some sort of “scoring” technique. I do not determine the success of my day based on how long my cardio session is or how much Pilates I do.
Now, this did not happen over night and it took some drastic changes in my life. I couldn’t just stop one way of measuring without finding another. Looking at the 1st Samuel scripture, I was encouraged to focus on my heart and spirit instead of my size. It took time for my heart to open up to others, to love and serve them, but gradually, this became the guiding force for my days…not the time I spend on in the gym or what I look like in my jeans. Of course, I am not a perfect being, there are days when I would rather get a pedicure than clean my house for my family, there are times when I put make up on just to “look” better before going to dinner with my husband. But I know that ultimately, it is not my outward appearance or even the “good” things I do that will be measured by the Lord. He will not use the scales and measurements of this world…He will use His own: “Honest scales and balances are from the Lord; all the weights in the bag are of his making.” Proverbs 16:11